Most NFL players aren’t afforded the luxury of leaving the game on their own terms. San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Chris Borland is not only retiring after just one season, but he’s leaving with what he deems to be the most important factor–his health.
Borland becomes the fourth player under the age of 30 in the last week to announce his retirement. Titans QB Jake Locker said he “didn’t have the burning desire to play the game for a living,” and Steelers LB Jason Worilds retired “after much thought and consideration” to pursue “other interests.” Patrick Willis, Borland’s teammate in San Francisco, walked away from the game with chronic pain in his feet among other reasons.
Borland announced his decision to Outside the Lines on ESPN and cited concerns about the long term effects of head trauma. “I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve ever been. For me, it’s wanting to be proactive,” Borland said. “I’m concerned that if you wait till you have symptoms, it’s too late.”
A hearty yes to Chris Borland and brain health. A disgusted no to anyone who heard the news and worried about 49ers’ linebacker depth.
— Ray Ratto (@RattoNBCS) March 17, 2015
Borland starred for the Wisconsin Badgers where he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-American honors during his senior season in 2013. At Madison, Borland earned a bachelor’s degree in history and has suggested that he will return to school and possibly pursue a career in sports management.
The former third round pick played in 14 games, starting eight, and amassing 107 tackles to go along with a sack and two interceptions. Borland said his decision “was simple” after researching and considering the repercussions of repeated head trauma.
I commend you Chris Borland for sacrificing a passion & money for your well-being. Impressively mature for a 24 yr old to make this decision
— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) March 17, 2015
As a lifelong Badgers fan, Chris Borland was one of my favorite players to ever strap up a helmet with the “Running W” on it. I was hoping the Green Bay Packers would select him in the draft, because the team clearly needed the intensity and desire that he played with every snap. Chris Borland was the consummate professional in every sense of the word; his decision to retire displayed his maturity and commitment to family, friends, and mental health.
Thanks for being a wonderful role model Chris Borland.
The @FanRagSports family wishes you all the best that life has to offer and we know that you’ll be successful in whatever path you choose.
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